Sir Alex: English teams weren't European flops

The Manchester United manager does not believe that football in England is in decline, despite there being no Premier League representatives in the Champions League quarter-finals

Sir Alex Ferguson has played down fears that English football is on the decline, after no Premier League sides made it into the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in 17 years.

Manchester United and Arsenal both suffered defeats in the round of 16, going out of the competition to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, respectively, after Manchester City and Chelsea both failed to make it out of their groups.

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However, Sir Alex has dismissed Arsene Wenger's comments which claimed that the rest of Europe has caught up with England's footballing ability.

“You can’t put us all in the one basket,” the Manchester United manager told reporters.

“Our performance against Real Madrid was outstanding. We should have been in the last eight. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

“But I don’t think you can put us all in one basket in terms of deterioration. I don’t believe that at all.

“It’s also a little bit cyclical. Look at the performance level of Borussia Dortmund, and Bayern Munich have improved this year; Spain has been like that for a few years now."

Furthermore, Sir Alex believes that the past five years have shown that English teams are still up there with the best in Europe.

In the past five Champions League finals, there have been two English teams who have won the competition: Chelsea and Manchester United. Barcelona lifted the trophy twice too, with Inter also proving victorious.

When including second place too, five of the ten finalists have been English representatives, with Bayern Munich and Barcelona representing their countries twice, alongside the 2009-10 winners Inter.

Sir Alex continued: "Going back a few years, English teams were in the semi-finals and finals quite regularly.

"It’s a bit of a cycle at the moment with the German teams progressing.”